It’s hard to believe that it’s already been one year since the horrific earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan. I vividly remember my flight to Tokyo being re-routed in mid-air to Sapporo before I could contact our Tokyo office employees to make sure they were all right.
At the time, I was absolutely floored by my team’s poise during disaster. They weren’t just safe, but they continued to serve our customers and maintain a “business-as-usual” attitude despite the 6.0+ aftershocks and unfolding events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Not only was I gratified and encouraged, I also learned a lot about bravery and professionalism from our Japan colleagues. Their work ethic and dedication really made it clear to me that in order to build a world-class company – as I fervently believe AvePoint is today – you need a foundation of world-class citizens. We have that with our global AvePoint family, now more than 1,000 strong.
As Japan continues to rebuild and replenish one year later, so does AvePoint. With two offices, in Tokyo and Osaka, AvePoint continues to expand to meet the needs of the vibrant SharePoint community in Japan with renowned customers such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Seiko Epson Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, Nikon Corporation, and Canon Inc., just to name a few.
Furthermore, we’re extremely proud to be hosting the first-ever SharePoint User Conference in Japan on March 23, featuring world-renowned Microsoft MVPs speaking about the most important topics in the SharePoint community today to help organizations realize the full benefits of SharePoint 2010. For more information, check out our Japanese-language microsite for SharePoint User Conference Japan.
Looking back, the longest lasting impressions I have of the aftereffects of the disaster are the perseverance and can-do attitude of the Japanese people. Despite all the media coverage on the leaking nuclear plants, all the regularly scheduled rolling blackouts across the city of Tokyo, and all the empty shelves in convenience stores – everywhere I went, the streets are clean and everyone remained calm going about their regular business. The general tone is that the Japanese people, with their hardworking attitude, will be able to overcome and persevere regardless of the situation at hand. It was also the time the Japanese youth – whom until then had been branded by older generations as being lazy, selfish, and lacking ambition – galvanized the country with their tireless and completely selfless volunteer work in tsunami-stricken areas. And interestingly, in a society that really values privacy and rarely posts anything online using their real names, March 2011 was the time when Western-style social media forums like Facebook really took off in adoption and worked wonders in helping people organize, gather information, and foster a real sense of community.
One year later, these impressions and lessons learned on persevering against all odds; community building and the bond between individual human beings; and motivating our community with a sense of purpose remained with me and our AvePoint management team. In large part, it also helped to shape our philosophy of building a stronger, more vibrant, and more diverse AvePoint global family.